This month we spoke with Jodi Roberts, Manager Engineering and Infrastructure - (commencing as Director Environment and Infrastructure on 14 December 2023), at City of Victor Harbor, about her role, professional development and what's next for her.
How long have you been in local government and what is your role?
I have worked in local government for twelve years with two different councils, Alexandrina Council and City of Victor Harbor, within varying departments.
Local government is so much more than roads, rates and rubbish. Daily I am reminded that as a public officer I am working within a diverse team of staff and volunteers delivering outcomes by, for, and with our community.
With a focus on strategic planning and leadership development, I am currently building a dynamic team to deliver and maintain services and infrastructure that meet the changing needs of the community.
What does a typical day look like for you?
There is no typical day as every day brings with it unknown challenges and opportunities. Amongst the numerous meetings, my time oscillates between strategic long term planning and providing reactionary response to community, Council Members or the environment as part of emergency management. My team is responsible for:
- GIS and asset management
- Properties including cemeteries
- Land development
- Capital project delivery
- Traffic management, streetlights and stormwater
I am looking forward to the new opportunities that the Director role will bring including:
- Open space and biodiversity
- Environment and sustainability
- Operations, maintenance and construction
You have previously completed the LG Professionals SA Executive Leaders Program; can you share some reflections from your experience?
I undertook the Executive Leaders Program at a perfect time for my personal growth, when I had a desire and willingness to undertake professional development to grow in other leadership areas, including people management. I found that I could build on my existing skills and develop a network of support amongst my peers in local government.
What learnings from the program where you able to implement into your role at council?
Each day I use the leadership tools I learned as part of the program and enjoy sharing them with my teams.
Some of the takeaway messages that I reflect on in my role include:
- To be authentic and vulnerable
- Creating space for opportunity by not filling it
- Notice more and be luck ready – let go of things and be adaptive
- To build on what is working
- I am in charge of the narrative – choosing the positive and not victim mindset
- I delight in the unknown and dwell it the mystery… that’s interesting, tell me more!
What would be your advice to others thinking of participating in the Executive Leaders Program?
The program is a worthwhile investment in you. If you are thinking about enhancing your leadership skills, this is the program for you. It is a great way to get to know other likeminded local government leaders. Be ready to expand your thinking and challenge yourself.
What’s next for you in your professional development journey?
Once I have settled into my new role as Director Environment and Infrastructure I am looking forward to exploring training opportunities such as the Strategic Management Program.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I am part of a book club with friends I have known for 40 years. As a single parent, I prioritise time with my son, and we make the most of our holiday adventures.